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Rusty Bowers Spoke With FBI In January 6 Probe For Four Hours; Secret Service Probe Involves DNA Analysis And Combing Visitor Logs, Security Cams; Trump Campaign Says It Raised More Than $35 Million In Second Quarter. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired July 05, 2023 - 21:00   ET



HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: It's just one. Look at that.


ENTEN: Bees, hornets, and wasps. Bees, hornets, and wasps killed 62 people.

COOPER: Yes, because people have allergic reactions.

ENTEN: Right.


ENTEN: They have allergic reactions to them.


ENTEN: So, the fact is when you look at this data, you really shouldn't be afraid of sharks.


ENTEN: There're going to be all these scary stories. But sharks, they're OK by name (ph).

COOPER: And bees are nice. You shouldn't be afraid. I mean, bees are good.


COOPER: All right. Harry Enten, thanks.

News continues. "CNN PRIMETIME" with Kaitlan Collins starts now.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Good evening. I'm Kaitlan Collins.

The Special Counsel's January 6 investigation has been ramping up. And while we know that Georgia has been a key focus, we hadn't heard as much about Arizona, until now.

Tonight, there is new reporting that Jack Smith's office has subpoenaed the office, of the top election official, in the State, as part of his investigation, into efforts, to overturn the 2020 election results.

The Arizona Republic is reporting that this subpoena came as recently as May, and it was seeking information, on two lawsuits, one from the Trump campaign, and another from the former Arizona Republican Party Chair, Kelli Ward that alleged fraud and errors, in the election results.

This also comes on the heels of reporting that Donald Trump pressured the former Republican Governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey, to overturn the election results, with Ducey later telling a donor, he was surprised that the Special Counsel, Jack Smith, hadn't called him.

My first guest, tonight, testified before the January 6 committee, about a call that he got, from Trump, pressuring him, to do things he couldn't do, to overturn the election results, when he was Arizona's Republican Speaker of the House.

And Rusty Bowers joins me now.

Rusty, as you are looking at this, and we're learning about the subpoena, to the Secretary of State's office, what does it say to you about the state of this investigation?

RUSTY BOWERS, (R) FORMER ARIZONA HOUSE SPEAKER: Well, A, that it keeps going. And it appears that a justice, whatever that means, on any given issue, in America, grinds on. And it's taken a while, but it just seems to keep going. And ultimately, I hope that all concerned have their time before justice. And I don't wish anybody any ill. But justice grinds on.

COLLINS: Have their time before justice.

I mean, we're hearing about Trump also pressuring the Governor, of your state, at the time.

You also got a call from Trump, around that time, pressuring you directly.

Had you ever heard about this call, with Trump and Governor Ducey? I mean, what do you make of how wide-ranging the pressure campaign was, in your home state?

BOWERS: Well, Governor Ducey is not a pushover. And he is very focused on his job. He always was. We saw differently, on issues. But he was always very focused on what he wanted to do, for Arizona. So, he didn't make me aware of it. And nor did he have to.

He was supportive of us, when we first put out our press release, about what had happened to us, the petition from Giuliani and Trump. And that if, in the absence of any proof, there was nothing we would do. We would not do anything without proof.

And he congratulated me for that letter. But he never mentioned his own call, with the President. I remember he did hang. He didn't take the call, one time, when "Hail to the Chief" came on, on his phone, during one of the certifications.

So, he wasn't a pushover. But I am surprised. It's pleasant to know that he also was getting it.

COLLINS: Yes, you weren't alone in that.


COLLINS: He did tell a donor that he was surprised the Special Counsel, Jack Smith, had not called him. Were you surprised by that? Do you think Jack Smith should talk to Governor Ducey?

BOWERS: I don't tell prosecutors what to do. If he feels that there's information that former Governor Ducey has, I definitely think he should ask him. If it's pertinent information, he should ask. I'm not opposed to him asking. He doesn't ask me for opinions. You are.

COLLINS: Yes, I am.

BOWERS: But --

COLLINS: But have you been --

BOWERS: He's --

COLLINS: Rusty, have you --

BOWERS: He, definitely so.

COLLINS: We talked about your call, with Trump, and with Giuliani, as you just mentioned there. They were both on that phone call. Have you been subpoenaed by the Special Counsel?

BOWERS: I have -- that's a great question. I'm hesitant to talk about any subpoenas et cetera. But I have been interviewed by the FBI.

COLLINS: In the January 6 investigation?

BOWERS: I believe that's --

COLLINS: Or excuse me. In the effort to overturn the election results?


BOWERS: Correct. It was four hours of a discussion that they had with me.

COLLINS: When was --

BOWERS: Very professional.

COLLINS: When was that interview?

BOWERS: It was a few couple of months ago, three months ago. About the same time frame, actually. COLLINS: Can you tell us what you talked about? I mean, this is news. We did not know that you had spoken to Jack Smith's team. Can you talk about what you offered to them, what information?

BOWERS: There was -- I offered them nothing new. They seemed to have a good grasp on all of the testimony that I had given, and all of the interviews that I had given, to The Arizona Republic, and people from The Washington Post. They were very aware of the January 6th committee testimony that I gave.

There may have been something that I said that was of interest. But I don't remember anything standing out that had not been mentioned before.

COLLINS: Did you turn over any documents to them?

BOWERS: That, I don't remember. I know I gave a lot of documents to my attorney. And I still have a lot of documents, that I don't know if they're important or not. I have the proof, whatever that met that was the proof that I had asked for. But it was hardly the proof that I saw.

COLLINS: What kind of --

BOWERS: It's kind of a joke.

COLLINS: What kind of documents was it? Emails, text messages, phone records, anything like that?

BOWERS: The players with the Trump administration, for -- "I want the names of all of the illegal aliens, I want the names of all of the dead people, I want the names of all of the service people, who had their documents stolen," et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

And they said, "We've got them. We'll give them to you."

I said, "That's the proof I need, in order to have any semblance, of the necessary threshold, that you do something this big." Now, we're talking now, what, a year and a half ago, and -- or more? And that never came.

But I did finally get what was they considered proof. And it was a couple of letters, from legal professors. It was a term paper, from one of my colleagues, on this theory of law.

It was several things that were entertaining, and a bunch of tear sheets, for ballots, were in the ballot entries and exits of the ballots, in their 200 lots -- 200 ballot lots came into the elections officials. There was no names, nothing else. And so, I turned squarely in my cheek, I say it's the proof. And that's all the proof I ever got.

COLLINS: I'm assuming, they also asked you about that phone call with Trump and Giuliani, directly, where you said, they called you after you had left church, one day, and were basically asking you to do things you said you couldn't do? BOWERS: That's correct. They did. We went over that briefly. We went over the next call. He called me twice, the second time, only from Trump. And it -- none of those bore resemblance to what he said, I said, in that email, before the January 6 Commission. But I guess he's a free citizen of the Empire. He can say what he wants.

COLLINS: Given they asked you about Trump, is it clear to you that this investigation is focused directly, on the former President? Or what sense did you get of the direction, of that investigation?

BOWERS: I think it's broad. Because, there's a lot of information, about attorneys that worked with them; about Mr. Giuliani that made the calls, and visited us; and other members, of his team, who they were, when the meetings were, what was discussed in those meetings, or in that meeting.

And so, I presume that all of them are involved. How that shakes out as threshold evidence? I don't know. I just dabbled with a paintbrush.

COLLINS: We've heard --

BOWERS: But I --

COLLINS: Excuse me. We've heard that they were looking at other attorneys. Did they ask you about a Sidney Powell, Kenneth Chesebro, any of these other attorneys that we know that had been a focus of Jack Smith, something they've been looking into?

BOWERS: Mr. Eastman.

COLLINS: John Eastman?

BOWERS: Was -- that we mentioned specifically.

I don't know if Mr. Epshteyn is an attorney. But he also had called, and I believe we discussed his phone call, to me, later, much later.


COLLINS: Can you refresh our memory, on the call, because you're talking about Boris Epshteyn, who is someone, who is still often seen with Trump. He was in court, with Trump, in New York, when he got indicted, here in Manhattan. What was -- can you remind us the nature of that call that he had to you?

BOWERS: There was a bill that one of my former colleagues, Mr. Finchem had introduced into the Legislature that he wanted me to hear.

And it would take the ballot outcome, of the 2020 election, and put that outcome, on the ballot, for the people of Arizona, to vote on, whether they still felt that way or not. It would, if they voted against that election, then it would be thrown out. That was the essence of this bill.

And I said, "I'm not going to hear that. Well, let's just say, I won't hear that bill." And Mr. Epshteyn was trying to get, convince me that that was a good bill, and that I should do it. And we had a, you know, as in, he had five or six shots, at trying to find a pivot that he could get me to accept that it was a good idea. None of them were good ideas. And I wouldn't do it.

But that was our conversation was just to support the Finchem effort. And I would not -- I would not do that. I have a little more respect for what I do than that.

COLLINS: Did you see that as him pressuring you?

BOWERS: Him, being Epshteyn?


BOWERS: He never threatened me in the least. Kept asking, he'll say, "Well what about this? And what about that? And what about this?"

And finally I said, "Mr. Epshteyn, we're big kids. I'm not going to do this. I'm not going to."

He said, "Well, if I can get you the proof, will you?"

I said, you've been -- "I've been promised that proof for, going on, two years now. You suddenly have it?"

And he said, "Yes, I got it. We can get it to you."

I said, like, "You put that on my desk, in the next three days. That would be an interesting piece of a pile to see. Make sure it's what I asked for. It's got the thing."

And I told you what I got was, some committee testimony, from Congress, a term paper, couple of letters, and a bunch of tear sheets, all of which didn't prove anything. Proved that there were tear sheets, proved that somebody had a hearing, but not the proof you need, for doing something, so incredible, as what we were faced with.

COLLINS: Do you think what Rudy Giuliani, Boris Epshteyn, any of these other attorneys, do you think what they did rises to the level of criminal behavior, in your view?

BOWERS: I'm -- that's not my -- that's above my pay grade. I don't decide what's criminal or not. I think America can decide and will. And I think they did, in fact. And they may do it again.

COLLINS: Trump is --

BOWERS: I hope it doesn't go that far.

COLLINS: You hope it doesn't go that far?

BOWERS: There, I do.

COLLINS: We learned today -- BOWERS: I hope that I have a better --

COLLINS: We learned today that Trump has raised $35 million, in the second quarter. It's basically double what he raised, in the first quarter. Obviously, his legal troubles are piling up. He's still claiming he won an election that he lost.

You say he effectively ended your political career. Does he deserve the GOP nomination? And if he gets it, would you vote for him?

BOWERS: Oh, I've already been very clear about that last point, very clear. The oval next to his name will never be filled on my ballot. And that's up to the party. If they think that that's what they have to do, then they are effectively throwing away a whole bunch of votes, that will not -- that will -- that agree with me. And that's up to them.

We should be very wise. We've got plenty of great candidates, to choose from. But you know? What a country?

COLLINS: Rusty Bowers, making some news that you have spoken to Jack Smith's investigators.

Thank you for joining us. Thank you, for your time, tonight.

BOWERS: Thank you.

COLLINS: I want to bring in CNN's Senior Legal Analyst, Elie Honig, who is here with me.

We wanted to talk about something else. But I mean?


COLLINS: He just made a lot of news. We did not know that Rusty Bowers -- just to remind everyone. They remember him likely from his January 6 testimony. He was the Republican Speaker, of the Arizona House of Representatives. And he says he has sat down with Jack Smith's investigators.

HONIG: Yes, this is extraordinarily significant. For four hours, he's met with FBI. And this means that Jack Smith and his team are looking at Rusty Bowers, as a witness.


That would be what you would do with someone who's not resisting you. You'd send out the FBI, as a prosecutor. If he's willing to talk, as apparently Rusty Bowers was, you get as much information, as you can. And this tells us that this is about more than Georgia.

This is the first and, I think, best indicator that Jack Smith is looking at this, as a coordinated multi-state effort, by Donald Trump, and the attorneys, who Rusty Bowers just listed. And I should add, he's a really good witness. I mean, I'm sitting here, watching him, as a former prosecutor, thinking, "Boy, would I love to put him on the stand." He's credible. He's backed up by the other evidence. He's relatable. So, I imagine Jack Smith, and his team, are looking at him the same way.

COLLINS: What do you make of what he said about turning over evidence, documents, to them, which, what he says he got, when he asked for proof that there was election fraud? That was coming from Giuliani, and Boris Epshteyn. And he says he got random term papers.


COLLINS: Some legal testimony -- or some testimony, from hearings.

What are they going to use that for?

HONIG: That backs up Rusty Bowers' testimony that he gave in front of the January 6 committee that at one point, when he asked for proof, he was told, "We don't have any proof. But we have theories."

And then, Rusty Bowers can say, "Well, here's what they gave me. Here, FBI is what they gave me." And it's a bunch of nothing. And that is what we call corroboration, meaning there's now documents that he got, from Rudy Giuliani, and others, that completely backs up a core point of his testimony.

COLLINS: And the idea, I think what he said there was most notable, is that they asked about Trump directly, a call that he had.


COLLINS: Not just the one with Rudy Giuliani, but the one with just him, and Trump, on the line. But also that they asked John Eastman, they asked about these other attorneys, around this.

As we know, Trump-world is embracing for indictments. And does this signal to you that we could see those indictments?

HONIG: It's a step towards that for sure. I think it's really important that they were focused on Trump. I think it's really important that they were focused on those key intermediaries, around him.

It's really important that they spoke to him for four hours? You can get through an awful lot of material in four hours.

And the fact that there are people, who are now expecting, or think it's more likely that will see indictments, in Trump's orbit? That's coming from somewhere, right?

Normally, prosecutors would be in regular touch, with representatives, of a defendant. And it could be that they've been told something. It could be that they've picked up on something.

Even just knowing this, what we just learned, the fact that Rusty Bowers has spoken with the FBI, is enormously telling, for me. And it tells me that Jack Smith is looking at this, in the big picture, and that he's getting, to the most important witnesses, and asking the most important questions.

COLLINS: Do you think -- I mean, we don't know the Jack Smith definitely has not spoken to Governor Ducey.

HONIG: Right.

COLLINS: But the idea that as of recently he told a donor, he hadn't? Do you think that's going to change?

HONIG: It would surprise me. If he had subpoenaed the Secretary of State, which you know, he did, for Arizona? And now, we know that his team has spoken with Rusty Bowers? It would logically follow that you would absolutely talk with Governor Ducey.

Now, as you said, we don't know. This was just breaking news. So, it may be that that's changed. But I would have to think, as a prosecutor, they would absolutely be on the same checklist.

COLLINS: All right, Elie Honig.

HONIG: Thanks.

COLLINS: Thanks for joining us to break down that breaking news.

HONIG: I'm excited.

COLLINS: All right, also coming up. It is no longer a suspicious white powder. And it has been confirmed as cocaine that has made its way, into the White House. Who brought it there? And how did an illegal drug like that slip past the Secret Service?

We'll speak to a former agent, next.



COLLINS: Tonight, Secret Service agents are combing through surveillance video, and visitor logs, conducting DNA and fingerprint analysis, all trying to figure out who brought cocaine, into the White House. Lab results, today, confirmed that cocaine was in fact the substance that was found, in the West Wing.

This discovery, of what we are told, is a dime-sized bag, triggered so much alarm that the complex is actually briefly evacuated. A source tells CNN, this bag was found inside a cubby, where visitors, who enter the West Wing, leave their phones, for security purposes.

The White House, today, insisting that they do believe they will get answers here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Where this was discovered is a heavily-traveled area, where many White House -- West Wing -- I should be even more specific -- West Wing visitors come through.

It is under investigation by the Secret Service. This is in their purview. And so, we're going to -- we're going to allow certainly the investigation to continue. And we have confidence that the Secret Service will get to the bottom of this.


COLLINS: We should note that at the time the drug was found, inside the West Wing, President Biden, and his family, were away from the White House. They were at Camp David.

For more, on this investigation, I'm joined tonight by former Secret Service agent, Evy Poumpouras, the perfect person to talk to us about this.

What does this investigation even look like? I mean, I covered the White House, for so long. I don't remember this ever happening, while I was there. But what does this investigation look like?

EVY POUMPOURAS, FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT, AUTHOR, BECOMING BULLETPROOF: Yes. So, I also don't recall this ever happening, as well, in all my years, and working, in the Secret Service.

So, what they're going to do is, first, they're going to take the package. They're going to assess whatever they can from it, DNA, fingerprints, if they can find something on it.

The other thing they're going to do is they're going to look through all the logs, the logs, meaning, who's passing through, who's coming in. People are supposed to be signed through.

So, some of the speculation is could it have been somebody there, for tour? If somebody goes in for a tour, they have to submit their names in advance. There's a protocol.

And I've done tours myself, at the White House. So, you're supposed to submit, in advance, "I'm bringing this person in. Here's their name. Here's their Social Security number." You do a background check on that person to make sure that they clear. Then, you get the authorization to have them come in. So assuming that was done, they will look through all those logs.

They're also going to look through any camera footage. So, when somebody enters the White House complex, the outer perimeter security is the Uniformed Division officers, who actually assess people, coming through. So, all those booths, all that area, there's plenty of cameras, on the exterior that they're going to look at, who's actually going into the area, those doors.

COLLINS: Yes. And so, the doors are key. Because, for those, who aren't familiar, when you're looking at the White House, there is a door off West Exec, which is the road in between the White House and the Executive Office Building, next door.

There's another door that is probably the best-known, going straight into the -- that's the side door, right there. You see that hallway. There's another door going straight into the West Wing.

And so, if you go in those doors, and it is near the areas, where you would put your phone up? Because, you can't just have a phone, walking around the West Wing. There's sensitive information. Are there cameras there, in those areas?

POUMPOURAS: That I can't release, because it's such a sensitive environment.


They're going to look through the footage. And it's -- you do want to make the -- it would be fair to say that the more in the interior that you are, there's less likely to be the type of camera system. If you think of it, it's a -- private discussions are being had in there, national security. So, it is unlikely you'll have anything within.

But, look, this happened at the exterior, where people are coming in. And so, that area that you showed? That's essentially where all personnel come in through. So, VIPs, heads of state, sometimes, come in through there, everybody's coming through there.

We also have to look at it -- it doesn't necessarily have to be a White House tour guest. It can also be a staff member. So, that's something that they should look at, as well, like who's coming in? Could it be a member of staff? So, it's somebody who has access to that entrance.

Because, the White House, even though it's a holiday weekend, and the President is away, it doesn't shut down. So, as you know, people are working, all the time, and around the clock. So, there's traffic constantly happening, through there.

COLLINS: As a former Secret Service agent, when you heard this, I mean, what goes through your mind? Because, if cocaine can get into the White House, I mean, aren't there concerns about other powdered substances, Anthrax, something more nefarious, that could actually pose a real national security threat?

POUMPOURAS: So, two things are happening here. The first thing that went through my mind was thinking, who is -- who brings this into the White House, as far as an individual?

So, especially if it's a tour guest, or a staff member, I want to say this. If you're going to -- if you're bringing somebody for a tour, and you're the one authorizing that person, you should know who you're bringing into that. It's a sacred place. That's the one thing.

Now, as far as security protocol? I hear what you're saying. You're saying somebody went through the perimeter checkpoints, right, the security?


POUMPOURAS: These are magnetometers. They're looking for weapons. And they're looking for any biochemical agents.

This dime-sized bag, which is really small? That can pass through. Somebody can hide that somewhere. You're not strip-searching people. So, I understand that everybody's kind of like, "How did this get through?" We're not talking about a large substance. We're talking about something super-small.

So, unless you want to start stripping people down, staff included, at that checkpoint, which I'm sure Secret Service is happy to do? That's something that will have to change in the protocol.

COLLINS: Do you think protocols will be changed?

POUMPOURAS: I think they -- I think they will. And I also think what staff should probably do is they should start drug-testing everybody, to see if anybody hits as well.

COLLINS: Yes. Well, Karine Jean-Pierre was asked about that today, in the briefing.

Evy Poumpouras, thank you, because you have insight on this like no one else, really does. So, thank you for that.

POUMPOURAS: Thank you for having me.

COLLINS: All right. Also, tonight, the latest fundraising numbers are out. We talked about this earlier, with Rusty Bowers. This is from the Trump campaign. Is the former President's indictment, indictments, I should say, paying off for him politically? We'll talk about that next.



COLLINS: Donald Trump's legal troubles have multiplied, over the last several months. But apparently, so has the money, in his campaign's war chest.

A Trump campaign source, confirming to CNN tonight, that between his official campaign and his Save America Political Action Committee, the former President has pulled in more than $35 million, in the second quarter of 2023. A campaign source telling me, that number is much higher than what even they were expecting. It's also nearly double the amount that was raised in the first quarter of the year for Trump.

And this comes, as his team is arguing that the two indictments that he is facing have supercharged donations, from his supporters.

Joining me now, to discuss, Van Jones, former Special Adviser, to President Obama; and Margaret Hoover, the Host of "Firing Line" on PBS. Van, I mean, do you think they're right? Is the reason that you're seeing this number double, because of the fact that he is facing all these two indictments, and maybe more to come?


In Marvel Comics, there's a villain that fights the X-Men, for the Hellfire Club. His name is Sebastian Shaw. And the harder you hit Sebastian Shaw, the stronger he gets.

Donald Trump seems to be the Sebastian Shaw of politics. The harder you hit him? The stronger he gets. The worse he does? The better he does. And I think it's because the Republican Party. Tribalism has kind of kicked in here. It's like "Well, even if he's wrong, he is one of our own. And you're going after one of our own." And so, tribalism is trumping commonsense, is trumping principle.

But Donald Trump positions himself to be a victim. "I'm a victim." And now everybody's rallying around, and trying to protect him as a victim. He supposedly hates the snowflakes. But he sure is a big snowflake. But it's working for him.

COLLINS: Margaret, I think it's worth noting that when we talked about the idea of how much money this is? And we asked the Trump campaign, how much of this is going to the campaign?


COLLINS: How much is going to the PAC?


COLLINS: And the reason this is important, a Political Action Committee, is because that PAC is being used to pay his legal fees, not just for Trump, but also for Walt Nauta.

I mean, do you think people understand that this is potentially what their donations are going to?

HOOVER: I don't know that people actually know that they may be paying for Trump's legal fees.

But I actually suspect that Van is right. Part of the reason he's getting so much support is because they feel vilified that he feels vilified. I mean, Van said, it does seem to be galvanizing support for him. People are voting with their pocketbook. And people are supporting the guy, who they feel is attacked.

They don't want Republican -- the Republican primary base, especially the self-identified, not just Republicans, but Trump supporters, do not want somebody else, to pick their candidate for them. They want to -- they want to be there, to stand up for the -- to rally around the person that they feel is being vilified, which is Donald Trump. So in a way, if they're paying, for his, they're supporting the PAC, and that happens to pay for their legal fees? And by the way, he's fundraising on his legal troubles, in a way -- there's a degree of transparency. Even though he's not saying, "This is going to pay for my legal fees," he is saying, he is running as the guy, who is being vilified. So, it actually is as though he were advertising for support for his legal fees.

COLLINS: Van, as you're seeing how he's campaigning, not just how he's fundraising? The former President had this big rally, in South Carolina, on Saturday, where we saw Senator Lindsey Graham getting booed. He decided not to do any campaigning, on the actual Fourth of July, as his campaign said he was spending the day with his family.


But, I mean, what do you make of the typical kind of handshake, on- the-trail politicking that we've seen, that we see other candidates doing, versus how Trump, given he is a former President, and has that platform, is campaigning this time around?

JONES: He's doing whatever he wants to do. Who's running for president that doesn't do anything, on the Fourth of July? Donald Trump.

If any other -- body did that, if Obama was running, if he -- they -- "Oh, he doesn't care about the country. He doesn't care about being President," he'd get destroyed.

But Trump does whatever he wants to do. I don't think it's going to hurt him very much.

But what it could do is leave a little bit of space, for the other people, who are out there, on the campaign trail, doing stuff, to get a little bit of attention vis-a-vis each other.

But we're watching something that is just -- there is no politician, certainly, and I don't mean to throw an issue in here, but I cannot imagine any politician, who's a normal person of color, or female, anybody, getting away with this type of stuff.

But if you're a billionaire? And you're a White dude? Apparently, you can literally get away with anything. And it won't hurt you. In fact, it may help you. It's just I have never seen anything like this.

HOOVER: I don't know. Mike Bloomberg was a billionaire and a White dude. And he couldn't even get away with it, Van.


HOOVER: I think it's a peculiarity of Donald Trump.

JONES: Well, hey, look, if -- I think if Bloomberg had been indicted, though, I think he'd have gotten negative of votes, he'd got zero, whatever you got, you got negative 15 votes, or something. It's just I just think --


JONES: -- that for a lot of people, watching this, it's like the rules don't apply to some. They should apply to others. And it just feels bad.

COLLINS: One of the other people we did see, on the campaign trail, Margaret, was Pence. And he was talking about the fact that he chose to be out on the campaign trail, kind of drawing this line. He was in Iowa. Governor DeSantis was in New Hampshire.

I mean, do they have those moments, where it's not a full thing, about Trump? Maybe it's just one day. But obviously, Pence is still being regularly asked about Trump's pressure campaign, on Governor Ducey, for example.

HOOVER: I mean, a day off the trail does not a candidacy, make or break, especially in the case for Donald Trump.

Look, Mike Pence, he's gone whole-hog for Iowa. And he's actually not showing up there -- I mean, he is showing up. But it's not really making a whole lot of difference in the polls. I mean, DeSantis has all the talent locked up.

Iowans expect everybody there. Expect them to glad hand, to be there. Trump does big rallies there. So, I don't know if Mike Pence's operation, an all-in in Iowa approach is going to make a big difference for him. Trump just still has the faraway lead.

COLLINS: Yes. And obviously, he is counting on the evangelical voters, in Iowa.

Van Jones, Margaret Hoover, thank you both, for joining, tonight.

HOOVER: Thanks, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Ahead, we have news, on that January 6 defendant, who was arrested, near President Obama's D.C. home, with a van full of weapons. He also had a series of recorded threats, against current political leaders, Democrats and Republicans. How did he elude the authorities for so long?



COLLINS: Tonight, prosecutors are offering disturbing new details, about the man, who was arrested, near former President Barack Obama's home, in Washington, with two guns, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, in his van.

A memo that was filed, earlier today, says the defendant, Taylor Taranto, began live-streaming, in that area, shortly after he re- shared a social media post, from the former President, Donald Trump, where the former President posted what he claimed was Obama's address.

Taranto said that he recorded himself, there -- had also recorded himself, I should note, making threats against the House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, and also, Maryland congressman, Jamie Raskin.

CNN's National Security Analyst, Juliette Kayyem, joins me now, to discuss the disturbing details of this.

Juliette, and according to this filing release, there's a lot of details.


COLLINS: But the prosecutors say Taranto showed up to Obama's home, shortly after he reposted, the message from Trump, with what Trump said was his address. And he added with a, you know, this quote, saying, "Got them surrounded."


COLLINS: I mean, what do you make of what you've learned today?

KAYYEM: So, Taylor Taranto was on a hunt, and he was given information that made that hunt easier.

The disturbing thing about what was filed today was how long this has been going on. Mr. Taranto was there at January 6. They have a picture or an image of him. He's not just in the crowd. He has a cane that has sort of a point at the edge of it. He then eludes authorities.

And then, by January 29, not until January 29, 2023, so just in the last week, that's when the indictment comes down. They are going after him, criminally, for January 6. And then, he starts doing all of this behavior.

It's very performative, Kaitlan, these guys. The fact that he's live- streaming it, he's reposting? They're very performative about their violence and threats of violence.

COLLINS: Yes. And, I think, to fill in a little, the reason why they had trouble, finding him, was he was essentially living out of this van, prosecutors said.


COLLINS: This van that had guns and all this ammunition in it.

But in that time, where he was just out, he had been making threats against Kevin McCarthy, against Congressman Raskin.


COLLINS: He went to -- he entered -- got into an area, near an elementary school, near Raskin's home.


COLLINS: And he had this warrant out.


COLLINS: I mean, what's the sense of why it did take them so long to find him, just beyond the fact that he didn't have a fixed address?

KAYYEM: Right. It was the fixed address aspect of it.

So, they are monitoring him, for some periods of time. It's the live- streaming. It's the threats. It's him showing up at places.

The evidence about the Jamie Raskin interaction, where he goes to an elementary -- he goes inside an elementary school that's near the Raskin home, and then basically says, "I want him to live in effing fear of me," I mean, he is -- he's very targeted, in who he's going after.


He then begins to live-stream his presence, in the area, where President Obama lives. And that is when the Secret Service is able to identify him. They essentially just finally see him, and then realize it's their guy.

He runs. The car is loaded with everything. I mean, this is not a -- someone who was just there to make a point. With lots of ammunition, the car's loaded. And then, you get the arrest.

So, what we're seeing actually is just the information, related to January 6, and why he cannot be let go out of prison. He's a clear and present danger, to lots of people.

There'll be more evidence coming out, about this particular investigation, and how he got animated, by social media, and clearly by what Trump posted, about the area, that President Obama lived in.

COLLINS: Juliette Kayyem, thank you.

KAYYEM: Thank you.

COLLINS: Also tonight, mass shootings are a uniquely American crisis. And they spiked higher, on the Fourth of July, this year, than any of the other days, in nearly a decade.

The staggering new numbers, with a parent, who has personally experienced the horror of gun violence, next.


COLLINS: Lashyd Merritt left his home, on Monday night, in Philadelphia, to go get a snack. He never came home from the corner store though. Lashyd was the youngest, of five siblings. He loved his family, his girlfriend, and his job.


And after this Fourth of July, his mother's pain is far too familiar.


MARIE MERRITT, MOTHER OF SHOOTING VICTIM: Some maniac walking around, just shooting, shooting, shooting. For what? We probably will never know why, you know? But he took my son. He took my baby. He took him.


COLLINS: Lashyd was one of seven people, who were shot, by a gunman, stalking the Southwest Philadelphia neighborhood. Five of those lives are now over.

While there was a block party in Baltimore or Shreveport, or a nightclub, in Wichita, or a fireworks show, in Fort Worth, this was a Fourth that left families, across the country, devastated.

Nicole Hockley lost her son, Dylan, in the Sandy Hook shooting. She is now the Co-founder and CEO of Sandy Hook Promise.

And Nicole, thank you, for joining me, tonight, on something that is obviously all too personal, with you.

When you see the spate of shootings, like what we've seen, in the last several days, do you see them as resonating, with the American public, in the same way that a school shooting does, or the Walmart shooting that we saw, where the killer there is now on trial?

NICOLE HOCKLEY, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO OF SANDY HOOK PROMISE, MOTHER OF DYLAN HOCKLEY: I think, unfortunately, gun violence has become such a perceived normal part of American life that far too many people just take all these shootings into their stride. And even a lot of school shootings don't make the headlines anymore, never mind the daily shootings.

And, I mean, this weekend alone, we had, what, 17 different mass shootings across the country? And we're hearing about some of them, but not all of them. And that's 17 more communities devastated.

People need to realize that this is not normal. It's not normal at any day in America. And we need to be doing more about this, and stopping it from happening.

COLLINS: Yes. These are people's lives. And we just heard from Lashyd's mother, there.

And when I was looking at the numbers of this? You mentioned over the last few days, the July 4th weekend. According to the Gun Violence Archive, a decade ago, the U.S. had 118 mass shootings, by the end of the Fourth of July weekend. We are now at 354, which is a 200 percent increase. I mean, what do you think is driving that?

HOCKLEY: I think there's a lot of different factors driving it.

I think, even in the last decade, we've seen a significant increase, in the number of guns, in the American market, gun ownership, in general. I think there's also a lot of fear that's being stoked, and anger, and people not being able to resolve their conflicts, or resolve their anger, in more sensible, civil ways. It's just become far too easy, to just reach for the gun, and take anything out, on those that you feel are doing something, against you, or your values, or beliefs.

And it's -- this is, we're now in a war, with our own country. And we're not looking at it that way. But we got this health epidemic that we're not doing anything about. And we're just allowing it to keep happening.

There are people trying to make things happen, don't get me wrong. But we need more voices, we need gun owners, to really add their voice, to this movement, and say, "We don't want these happening, in our neighborhoods and communities, either. Our children deserve to be safe. Our families deserve to be safe."

We need sensible legislation, to help curb this, before it just continues to get even worse and more out of hand than it already is.

COLLINS: You mentioned sensible legislation. These are shootings that happened, across different states, with very different gun laws, the shooters using different types of weapons.

What would something like that look like? I know groups like yours have had success in pushing for new laws. But when you see the spate of this, and the difference, here, what does that look like?

HOCKLEY: Well, with a lot of mass shootings, we know that shooters give off signs, before they commit acts of violence.

And starting to look at some of the news reports that are coming out now, for example, the shooter in Philadelphia. There were warning signs. So, people need to learn how to recognize those signs, and then do something with it.

Something like an extreme risk protection order, or temporary transfer? That is a very sensible legislation that doesn't strip anyone, of their constitutional rights, but says, if someone is showing overt warning signs, or is going into crisis, and could be at risk of hurting themselves, or someone else? There is a court process, for temporarily, removing their access, to firearms, until they are deemed fit to have them back. That has evidence to show that it works, in stopping tragedies, and particular suicide.

Safe storage laws, expanded background checks, these are all sensible, constitutional laws that would still help curb violence.

But I also think like ghost guns. I know, in school shootings, we're seeing more kids accessing ghost guns, where there is no regulation on them. There's no serial numbers, to say where they are.

You can just go to literally, and download blueprints, and start building your own. And that's what people are starting to do. And there needs to be stricter regulation around that as well, because that's incredibly scary, to everyday citizens, as well as law enforcement.


COLLINS: Nicole Hockley, thank you, for joining us, tonight.

HOCKLEY: Thank you.

COLLINS: And we'll be right back.


COLLINS: If AC/DC, Guns N' Roses, and Eric Clapton are on your morning playlist, you're not alone. You actually have that in common, with Ukrainian president, Zelenskyy.

And in an exclusive interview, with my colleague, Erin Burnett, the Ukrainian president share that that is the soundtrack that prepares him, to cope with the war that he has been facing.


PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINE: Oh, I like AC/DC. And the Ukrainian music --


ZELENSKYY: Of course, I like Ukrainian music a lot, because Ukraine, and that's native language. That's why you understand not only music, you understand words, and et cetera.

AC/DC, I don't understand all the words because of -- but I like so --

BURNETT: You like the music?


ZELENSKYY: Yes. I like energy of AC/DC. I like Eric Clapton.


ZELENSKYY: And a lot of -- lot of Guns N' Roses. Maybe it's too old music for --

BURNETT: I understand. We're the same.


COLLINS: Not too old at all.

Thank you so much, for joining us.

"CNN TONIGHT" with Alisyn Camerota starts, right now.